There are a few ways to get red dots, reflex sights, and scopes on a shotgun. Here’s how to choose based on application.
You don’t often find optics on shotguns. Because they fire multiple projectiles at once, pinpoint accuracy isn’t usually required. If you’re doing any sort of wing shooting or busting clays, they probably would do more harm than good, forcing you to aim when you should be concentrating on following through. But when the target is relatively stationary, an optic of some sort can really be a benefit.
The magnification a scope provides is welcome in the deer woods, especially on a slug gun, helping you make distant shots with greater ease. Turkey hunters employ ultra-tight chokes that keep patterns narrow out to 40 yards and beyond, so knowing your exact point of aim is essential for them. And with the growth in 3-gun contests, more and more competitors are looking to reflex sights to help them get on target faster in competitions where seconds count.
Types of Shotgun Optics
There are a few different types of optics that can be used on shotguns. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, so I’ll go over each and you can decide which best suits your usage. Like most types of equipment, there isn’t one that will be ideal in every situation. You’ll need to decide what the shotgun will be used for most of the time and make your choice based on that.
Read about the different types of shotgun optics at Range365.com
You may also be interested in:
Turkey Ingredients1 pair of wild turkey legs and thighs 1 quart chicken stock 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Chicken base 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning 1 teaspoon dried chives Salt and black pepper to taste
Dumpling Ingredients2 cups all-purpose flour ½-teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons cold shortening or lard ¾-cup buttermilk or water
DirectionsStart by adding 2 quarts of chicken stock along with the poultry seasoning to the Instant Pot. Add the turkey legs and thighs and set the pot to pressure cook for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to natural release after cooking, about 30 more minutes. Remove the turkey, leaving the stock in the pot. Shred the turkey meat from the bone and set aside. Make the dumplings by mixing the flour, baking soda, salt and lard. Cut the lard into the dumplings with a fork until well blended. Add the buttermilk or water and mix well. Roll the dough onto a floured surface about ¼-inch thick. Cut into strips with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Set the Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Add the remaining two cups of stock, the chicken base and the dried chives. Bring the mixture to a boil and drop in the dumplings a few at a time. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the dumplings are cooked through and the stock starts to thicken. Return the turkey to the pot and continue cooking until everything is heated through. Top with cracked black pepper and salt to taste before serving and garnish with diced fresh chives, if desired.
Try Out More Recipes with NSSF’s Game Meat Cooking Series
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF4EE32869227CCE5Where hunter and classically trained chef Georgia Pellegrini shares recipes from her book, "Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time."
Magnification RangeYou will need to assess your specific glassing needs in order to make a proper decision when it comes to the magnification range of your binocular. Many people believe that more magnification is better, but that’s not always the case. For instance, field of view, the width of the image seen through the binocular, can in fact be too narrow when using higher magnification binoculars. I personally prefer a high-quality design of lower magnification than the reverse. The finest brands will give a bright, crisp image at 8X magnification, where the poorly made models (some with very attractive price tags) will struggle to compete at any magnification level. [caption id="attachment_3239" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD, one of the author’s favorite binoculars. It represents an excellent value, giving premium performance at a very attractive price.[/caption] Higher magnification levels do have their place, especially for glassing across canyons or open plains or tundra. Still, you’ll have to balance their benefit there against their generally larger, heavier bodies and more expensive price tags. Binoculars are labeled with the magnification level first, the diameter of the objective lens (in millimeters) second. Thus, a 10x32 binocular has 10X magnification and 32mm lenses. General-purpose binoculars usually have 7X, 8X or 10X magnification and 32 to 40mm lenses. I have owned smaller models—I had a Zeiss 8x20 “shirt-pocket” model that worked well for deer hunting in thicker woods—but the smaller objective lenses don’t offer the light transmission the larger models do. Contrarily, the larger models are heavier and can be more difficult to hold steady for viewing, so you can see where the tradeoffs need to be made. [caption id="attachment_3240" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The Swarovski 8x32 EL—what may be the Holy Grail of binoculars to many hunters and shooters. It isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the investment.[/caption]
The Prism QuestionModern binoculars are broken into two groups: roof-prism and Porro-prism models. Without getting deep into the physics, the Porro-prism design uses a pair of offset prisms, which usually results in a greater distance between the ocular lenses. These binoculars have a short, stout, squat look. The roof-prism binocular uses a pair of back-to-back prisms, and the straight-line design allows for a more compact design. With a hinge in the center, the unit looks much like a capital “H.” [caption id="attachment_3241" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The author’s Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD binocular, shown here in Australia, has been on many different hunts and has always been reliable.[/caption] I tend to lean toward roof-prism designs, as I most often carry my binocular on a strap, hanging under my left arm, and that shape works best for that kind of transport. Several friends prefer to carry their binocular in a harness, with the binocular sitting on the middle of the chest. This allows for a fast, two-handed grip that quickly raises the unit to the eyes, something well-suited to the Porro prism.
Lenses, Coatings and Price RangeYou’ll find a wide price range, when it comes to binoculars. Tags ranges from about $100 for an entry-level model up to and over $4,000 for a fine European binocular loaded with features. To find what is going to work best for you will require a shopping trip in order to compare makes and models. [caption id="attachment_3242" align="aligncenter" width="650"] This 8x42 Bushnell Forge binocular gives the user a lot of features— coated lenses, EXO Barrier protection to protect the glass from the elements, etc.— for the investment. The author has taken it on safari to Africa, as well as numerous hunts across North America.[/caption] My choices generally lie in the middle to lower end of that price range, though I understand why a professional hunter or registered guide—those whose livings depend on seeing game animals—would invest a healthy sum of money in the best binocular they could afford. If you hunt with enough guides, you’ll invariably see a well-worn Swarovski, Zeiss, or Leica binocular on the dashboard of the truck. Bird watchers, too, are devotees of fine glass and target shooters, especially those working at long range, appreciate glass that lets them see mirage and waving grasses far away. There are few rivals the lens quality of those renowned glass makers, though some of our American manufacturers come close. [caption id="attachment_3243" align="aligncenter" width="650"] An entry-level binocular like this Bushnell Legend 10x42 can serve a hunter well. Such optics on the lower end of the price spectrum have come a long way in recent years.[/caption] Some binoculars give more than just magnified vision. A number of models, for instance, have built-in rangefinders, while others offer thermal imaging. Such additional options certainly raise the price of the unit, as well as add to the weight. If these options appeal to you, so be it, just realize they change the game a bit. As an outdoor writer, I use more than one brand throughout the year, and I can say that a number of lower-priced binocular brands have greatly improved in quality over the decades. I’ve used several Bushnell binoculars, which represent a great value, and I can say the same for Vortex and Nikon. [caption id="attachment_3244" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Some of the lesser-known companies such as Riton Optics produce a useable and reliable binocular, but you’ll have to spend some time shopping around for them.[/caption] Still, not all binoculars are created equal, and that said, lens quality and coatings are of utmost importance when deciding between models and prices. Cheap lenses cause eye strain. Cheap construction won’t stand up to rigorous use in the field; I like adjustable eye cups that stay where I put them, just as I do the focal knobs. I also want a crisp, clear image with plenty of contrast, and lens coatings that help shift the color spectrum so I can pick game animals out of the brush in low-light conditions. Among the models I’ve used over the years that have excellent lenses and coatings, I’ve most enjoyed Leupold’s 10x42 BX-5 Santium HD, Swarovski’s 8x32 EL and Leica’s Ultravid 8x32HD as great all-around-use choices. They have worked well for me across four continents and in a number of different conditions and environments from sub-zero weather in Canada to hotter-than-hell-itself in Zimbabwe. [caption id="attachment_3245" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The author (left) and safari partner Dave deMoulpied. Note Dave’s Steiner Porro prism-design binocular on a chest harness.[/caption] Different brands and models provide these features to varying degrees, so when you’re shopping, do your best to sample them outdoors. Looking through a binocular under the fluorescent lighting of a sporting goods store will not give an accurate representation of light transmission or image color. Beyond that, read the reviews, try your buddy’s binocular, ask questions and look at as many different brands and models as possible. With that work, you’ll soon find a model that suits your situation makes your investment in this optic worthwhile. About the Author Philip Massaro is a freelance writer whose passions include big-game hunting and ballistics. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs and has authored books on both hunting and ballistics.
https://youtu.be/Y8o1r_USeIIIn this video, Former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner demonstrates how to properly set up your binoculars.